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If the New Rome, the United States also remained the New Jerusalem.
As Wolfowitz saw it, the possession of great military power facilitated the merger of these seemingly antipathetic roles.
In recent years, Paul Wolfowitz has been the object of such fascination, extravagantly admired in some quarters for his strategic acumen, reviled in others as a reckless warmonger.
It is easy to see why: more than any of the other dramatis personae in contemporary Washington, Wolfowitz embodies the central convictions to which the United States in the age of Bush subscribes—in particular, an extraordinary certainty in the righteousness of American actions married to extraordinary confidence in the efficacy of American arms.
At the center of this putative military revolution lay the concept of precision.
During the 1940s, and especially during the ominous early days of the Cold War, a series of influential thinkers—Hans Morgenthau, Walter Lippmann, George Kennan, and above all Reinhold Niebuhr—had each in different ways made the point that if the United States intended to play the part of a responsible great power then it had no alternative but to deal with the devil: the preservation of American freedom demanded that the United States tolerate, accommodate, and in some instances even collaborate with evil.
Historians will remember Wolfowitz not as the architect of the Iraq War but as the chief proponent of a radical shift in American thinking about war more generally. As Wolfowitz saw it, when faced with burgeoning threats, American policymakers have habitually tended to prevaricate.
Since the 1980s, even before the collapse of the Soviet empire elevated the United States to the status of sole superpower, Wolfowitz has been pressing insistently for a more expansive, forward-leaning approach to using armed force. Nominally, the inspiration of this project was straightforward: it aimed to enhance U. Yet putting off problems merely permits them to fester. In the game of international security, the governing rule was a simple one: pay me now or pay me later.
Although conceding that no action was without risk, he felt certain that “the risks of inaction ultimately are greater.” This comment, made in reference to Iraq in 2002, reflected a more general predisposition.
Yet in a broader sense, the project consuming Wolfowitz also possessed a teleological dimension.
During World War II, Franklin Roosevelt had hailed the murderous Josef Stalin as a great and glorious ally.